FEDERAL BUDGET 2019: Bundaberg winners and losers revealed

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison re-enforced his commitment to dragging Bundaberg out of the economic doldrums by committing $173m under the City and Regional Deals program.

Big on promises but light on detail, specific funding commitments were sparse for our region in the first budget for the Mr Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg pairing.

With an election looming it is likely the Coalition will fill in the gaps over the coming weeks as the Liberals and Nationals try to sway voters to back for another three-year term.

The government has made some commitments to the Wide Bay including a promised City and Regional Deals that aims to "develop a plan for economic development to ensure the region can reach its maximum potential".

The $173 million spend will be split between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.

"It will identify key investments and reforms that are required in the region and aim to attract new business and increase the output of key existing industries," budget papers said.

The Hinkler Regional Deal will see $11 million spent this financial year while $15m, $20m and $25m will be spent over each of the coming three financial years.

The controversial Cashless Debit Card trial will be extended to June 30, 2021 across the city and the Federal Government has confirmed welfare recipients in the Northern Territory and Cape York will transition to the program.

Bundaberg's older residents will be encouraged to start new businesses with the appointment of a local entrepreneur facilitator.

The Encouraging Entrepreneurship Among Older Australians program gives "mature age" people the skills they need to become self-employed.

The $19m Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Super Brewery commitment continues, ensuring the business can grow its distribution network here and overseas.

The Roads of Strategic Importance fund reiterates previous commitments of $32m for the Quay Street upgrade and the Bargara Road Upgrade attracts $8m.

Other commitments for regional Australia include:

  • $200 million for a fourth round of the Building Better Regions Fund to create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger communities.
  • $220 million investment in improved internet and mobile services through the Stronger Regional Connectivity Package.
  • $100 million investment in regional airport infrastructure upgrades.
  • Two new regional provisional visas to encourage more migrants to settle and remain in regional areas.
  • $93.7 million over four years for scholarships for domestic and international students to study in regional Australia under the new Destination Australia Program.
  • $6.3 billion in assistance and concessional loans to support those affected by drought and $35 million to charities in drought-affected communities.
  • $29 million for increased mental health and wellbeing support for farmers in hardship in drought-affected communities.
  • $3.9 billion for the Future Drought Fund. - NewsRegional
News Corp Australia


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